Noah: After the Flood

by Ethan Alter March 27, 2014 1:20 pm
<i>Noah</i>: After the Flood

Like the unseen, but omnipresent Creator referenced throughout Noah, Darren Aronofsky works in mysterious ways. Far from the $100 million art film many assumed the director of such cult fare as The Fountain and Pi might have made, this re-telling of the Great Flood myth instead turns out to be a 21st century version of one of those big-screen Bible epics from the '50s and '60s, right down to the occasionally clunky dialogue, stiff performances and dubious special effects. But -- and this is important -- in its best moments Noah also offers the same majesty and awesome sense of narrative and emotional scale present in the finest examples of that dormant genre (think perennial favorites like Ben-Hur and The Ten Commandments), as well as superior blockbusters in general. Along with fans of Aronofsky's edgier pictures, those expecting a literal translation of the Biblical verses may leave disappointed, as the director has produced a lavish, commercially-minded embellishment of a tale that was already quite fantastical to begin with.

Non-Stop: The Air Up There

by Ethan Alter February 28, 2014 6:00 am
<i>Non-Stop</i>: The Air Up There

During the course of his unlikely late-career stint as an action hero, Liam Neeson has logged plenty of flight time traveling to exotic locations like France, Turkey, Alaska and Germany to kick ass. So it's understandable that the nearly retirement-age actor is cashing in some of those frequent flier miles by saying yes to Non-Stop, a thriller that keeps him in a confined space (specifically a transatlantic airline) instead of traipsing through the urban and/or natural wilderness. The other benefit of keeping the action confined to a single set is that the filmmakers have more money to recruit a higher-caliber cast, which is how this glorified B-movie is able to recruit such noted thespians as Julianne Moore, Scoot McNairy, Corey Stoll, Michelle Dockery and current Oscar nominee Lupita Nyong'o. It doesn't give these folks anything challenging to do, mind you, but if you're going to be stuck on a six-hour New York-to-London flight, it helps to enjoy the company of the passengers and crew.

Short Reviews of the 2014 Oscar-Nominated Short Films: Documentary

Our coverage of the 2014 Oscar nominated shorts concludes with some true-life tales.

Short Reviews of the 2014 Oscar-Nominated Short Films: Live Action

Continuing our look at this year's crop of Oscar nominated shorts with the live action nominees.

Short Reviews of the 2014 Oscar-Nominated Short Films: Animation

Once upon a time, only select audiences had the opportunity to view the various short films that were up for Oscar consideration. Now though, these movies are available to (almost) everyone thanks to Shorts HD and Magnolia, which have teamed up annually to distribute all fifteen nominees in three separate categories -- Animation, Documentary and Live-Action -- theaters (starting January 31) and via VOD (starting February 25). (Visit the official site for more details.) Here are short reviews this year's short films -- starting with Animation -- along with our picks for which will win and which should win.

Oscars 2014: Our Gut Reaction to the Nominations

by Ethan Alter January 16, 2014 10:03 am
Oscars 2014: Our Gut Reaction to the Nominations

Oscar voters do the hustle, American style.

Five Reasons Why the <i>Paranormal Activity</i> Franchise Should Rest in Peace

Well… it was fun while it lasted. After five years and five movies, the Paranormal Activity franchise is, at last, dead on arrival. The final nail in the coffin? The anemic debut of the so-called "spin-off" installment, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones, which attempted to capitalize on the first-week-of-January release date that's been so horror-friendly in past years (just look at the first-weekend grosses for Texas Chainsaw 3D and The Devil Inside) but wound up getting trounced by Frozen's dynamic duo of Elsa and Anna, who re-claimed the top spot following their film's seventh week in theaters.

Golden Globes 2014: Our Gut Reaction to the Movie Nominations

by Ethan Alter December 12, 2013 10:13 am
Golden Globes 2014: Our Gut Reaction to the Movie Nominations

Captain Phillips wins big amongst Golden Globes voters, while everyone steels themselves for the first round in the pre-Oscar 12 Years a Slave vs. Gravity battle.

I Want My DVD: Tuesday, November 26, 2013

by Ethan Alter November 26, 2013 6:05 am
I Want My DVD: Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Bruce Willis and the rest of the geezers are back in action.

I Want My VOD: November 2013

by Ethan Alter November 6, 2013 10:42 am
I Want My VOD: November 2013

This is the way the world ends in How I Live Now: not with the Hunger Games, but a moody teenage girl.

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